Surrogacy is a very controversial practice around the world, raising difficult moral, social and legal issues. According to the National Infertility Association, approximately 7.3 million individuals in the United States (one in every eight couples) struggle with infertility issues. I’m sure we all know someone who does and it’s not a topic that’s always easy to talk about.
But if you thought surrogacy is a rather modern way of allowing couples to become parents regardless of their gender, past, and background, think again. Surrogacy has been around for much longer than many people realize. In fact, it even dates back to biblical times.
Here’s everything you need to know about the history of surrogacy
In the Bible
The first mention of surrogacy can be found in “The Book of Genesis” in the story of Sarah and Abraham. Sarah and Abraham were married but could not conceive a child of their own, so Sarah turned to her servant Hagar to be the mother of Abraham’s child.
Surrogacy also played a role in Native American history. If a couple was unable to conceive, the husband was encouraged to procreate with another woman to keep the family line growing. Different from modern surrogacies, the Native American child would remain with the biological mother.
The first compensated surrogacy agreement was arranged between a traditional surrogate and the intended parents. Elizabeth Kane (a pseudonym) received $10,000 to carry a baby for another couple. Although she had already completed her family and placed a child for adoption, Kane was unprepared for the emotions of surrogacy and the challenges she faced after giving birth to the baby.
She eventually regretted her choice to become a surrogate and wrote about her experiences in a book called “Birth Mother.”